Potential Flames trade deadline partners

Kent Wilson
February 14 2016 12:00PM

As we all know, the Flames are probably going to be deadline sellers. That means almost all of their pending UFA's should be be available to the highest bidder, even if the org kind of wants to keep Kris Russell around (*spoiler* they can't really afford to).

So the question is where will these guys land? Here's an assortment of potential destinations.

Jiri Hudler (RW)

Perhaps the Flames' biggest trade piece, Hudler seems to have awoken from a long slumber this month and may have done enough to resuscitate his perceived value around the league. Which is good because top-6 scorers are often demand a premium around the deadline. 

Here's who could use some offense on the wings:

  • Pittsburgh Penguins - The Pens have three top-6 wingers currently: Patrick Honqvist, Phil Kessel and Chris Kunitz. Hudler could round things out nicely for a team that is constantly looking for guys who can complement their 1-2 punch down the middle in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
  • Minnesota Wild - With just one win in their last 10 games, the Wild are sinking badly. One of their main problems is offense: amongst other playoff contenders in the West, only the Ducks have scored fewer goals than Minnesota so far. 
  • Montreal Canadiens - Montreal's scoring touch vanished right when their goaltending went south, which is why they've been the worst team in the league since December. Hudler might be of interest to them if they want to make a final push for the post-season.
  • New York Islanders - After their top four scorers (Tavares, Okposo, Nielsen, Nelson), things fall off for the Islanders pretty quickly. Garth Snow and the entire Isles fan base are desperate for a taste of playoff success, so I can see them wanting to load up.
  • St. Louis Blues - The Blues have assumed the mantle from the Sharks as the best regular season team who can't seem to win in the playoffs. Up front, they boast the deadly Vladimir Tarasenko and capable Alex Steen and then a lot of middle tier weapons after that. Hudler could be seen as another arrow in the quiver in the fight against other Western heavyweights like Los Angeles and Chicago. 

Kris Russell (D)

With Bob McKenzie's stating that Kris Russell could be in line for a $25M+ pay day in free agency, the decision to move him at the deadline was essentially made for the Flames. Russell is a guy whose reputation completely outstrips his actual utility, so this is the one trade the Flames absolutely need to execute at the deadline for a variety of reasons. Even if the team somehow claws its way into the playoff picture they should still put Russell on the auction block. His stock will never be higher. 

  • Chicago Blackhawks - The Hawks' blueline is hilariously top heavy with things falling off a cliff after the top-3 of Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Nikals Hjalmarsson. With Chicago poised to take another run at the cup they will no doubt be in the market for defensive depth. 
  • Pittsburgh Penguins - Pittsburgh has even less depth on the back-end than they do on the wings. Aside from Kris Letang, no other Penguins defender makes more than $3M aside from Trevor Daley. It's depth players and kids all the way down. 
  • St. Louis Blues - A recent knee injury to Alex Pietrangelo may have the Blues in the market for another defender heading into the stretch drive. St. Louis considered Russell expendable last time he was in town, but maybe they'd like him as depth rental this time around.
  • Colorado Avalanche - If they manage to stick in the wildcard spot, Colorado could have interest in Russell to bolster their top-4 rotation. The blueline is easily the Avs biggest area of weakness, with only Tyson Barrie and Erik Johnson as legitimate top-4 NHLers at this point. 

Karri Ramo (G)

Ramo has improved his stock since being waived early in the season, but the truth is he is a career .906 SV% goaltender. Even if you want to limit things to his post-KHL stint, Ramo is a .911 SV% 'tender. Competent results, but completely replaceable. Which means the team should consider moving him if someone comes calling. 

Obviously this is all moot if Ramo's recent injury is long term, but for now we'll assume he'll be healthy by the end of the month. Some teams who might be interested include:

  • Nashville Predators - an excellent club... except for their goaltending. Pekka Rinne has had a dreadful season (.903 SV%) and the club doesn't seem to trust backup Carter Hutton very much (only eight games played). They could use an established NHLer to spell off (usurp??) Rinne.
  • New Jersey Devils - Cory Schneider is legit, but backup Keith Kinkaid is not. If the Devils are convinced they are headed to the playoffs they may want to acquire some Schneider insurance.
  • San Jose Sharks - Martin Jones has established himself as an NHL starter this year, but Alex Stalock has stumbled badly with an .884 SV% in 13 games. At 28 years old, Stalock likely isn't considered a "future asset" worth developing either. Desperate for post-season success, I can see the Sharks shopping for a more capable 1B option. 
  • Montreal Canadiens - Assuming they manage to pull out of their tailspin and challenge for the playoffs, the Habs could well be in the market for another goaltender. Losing Carey Price has been disastrous and their second best option behind him right now is Ben Scrivens.

Other trade options

  • David Jones (UFA)
  • Josh Jooris (RFA)
  • Markus Granlund (RFA)
  • Joe Colborne (RFA)
  • Jonas Hiller (UFA)
  • Jakub Nakladal (UFA)

The Flames might listen to offers for some of these players, but chances are there won't be much interest. 

Conclusion

While Calgary's newly complicate goalie situation might dissuade a Ramo (or Hiller) trade, both Jiri Hudler and Kris Russell should garner significant interest for Treliving at the deadline. At the very least, the club should be aiming to get some worthwhile picks and prospects for both of these players. 

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#51 cberg
February 15 2016, 09:00AM
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RealMcHockeyReturns wrote:

First, NHL teams don't pay that high of prices for rentals, at least this year. All the media is saying so and they do speak to GMs unlike us. Second, GMs would thus expect them to keep most of the players for longer term so their expected salaries must fit under a flat cap (expected) going forward....and they don't. Third, your expected return is STILL too high. Fourth, look at regular and advanced stats and Ramo is just barely average, same with Hudler (a bit above) who seems to have regressed, while Wideman and Russell are bad in advanced and regular stats. Montreal may want Ramo and Poirier but won't overpay as you suggest or media & rabid fans will roast them, not worth the risk for Bergevin

This belief in the truth of various rumours and articles we read is kind of laughable. On the one hand, for example, some guys dismiss the Nichuskin rumour out-of-hand as fantasy, yet at the same time (perhaps other guys) trust the "no high payments for rentals" idea as gospel.

Really, I'm pretty sure we've got very little if any insight into reality and the future. Teams are probably in the same boat. A team may want to do something, but it takes two to tango and you need a willing partner. BT may wish to trade Hudler, Russell and Wideman for example, but lots of things can happen (suspensions, poor play, injuries, other trades) that can change even the best laid plans instantly. Actually I would think that most of the rumours we hear are failed trade investigations...

In any case, arguing whether a proposal is likely or not is kind of moot. Almost any trade can be evened out by throwing in a lower level pick or prospect.

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#52 Burnward
February 15 2016, 09:12AM
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suba steve wrote:

Truth is, you never know. The Erat for Forsberg trade a few years ago being a good example. If a manager REALLY feels that this year is his big shot at winning a Cup, then shipping out a spare tender plus for a few useful pieces that could potentially help get you that ring, may be something he seriously considers. Or not. Trade deadline often provides some WOW moments.

Yep.

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#53 cberg
February 15 2016, 09:15AM
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Of the many proposals out there the ones I see with the most traction, but not the main characters that everyone sees are:

Poirier going to Montreal. He's someone they wanted, is French-Canadian and I'm sure would love to get back there. In addition, in spite of what we may think of him this season, he's an aggressive, very fast scorer who would probably go great on their team. I'm not really interested in trading him, as I always thought he wold be a key piece of the future here, but if he can get back a great prospect we need I might be OK with dealing him.

Another guy Granlund, especially the idea to Minnesota to work with his brother. Not sure what we'd get back but perhaps a good pick or higher-end prospect.

Third guy, Derek Engelland. This year he's played very well as a 6D, and has proven he can fill-in higher on a short-term basis. He is physical and would bolster a lot of D's with a Cap going forward reasonable, and only a year left.

Guys have mentioned Ramo, I would add Hiller. Trade them both for playoff insurance which I think they could both do well, especially to teams with weak back-ups. They are both UFAs so zero issues going forward and could easily re-sign at lower $s for next year if a team liked what they see.

Smid wants to go and play. Solid insurance as a 6/7D, but with one year left so he'd have to fit for another year.

Bouma, a solid, physical tough player that can play on bottom two lines and chip in some goals as proven last year. He would be a solid addition to a playoff team and is signed for a fairly low $ going forward. We apparently have other guys on the farm who could replace him (Hathaway?).

Stajan, solid 3C who can shut guys down and chip in some offence as well. Still a year left on a reasonable term.

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#54 piscera.infada
February 15 2016, 09:25AM
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suba steve wrote:

Truth is, you never know. The Erat for Forsberg trade a few years ago being a good example. If a manager REALLY feels that this year is his big shot at winning a Cup, then shipping out a spare tender plus for a few useful pieces that could potentially help get you that ring, may be something he seriously considers. Or not. Trade deadline often provides some WOW moments.

Fair enough. I won't argue that GMs go ridiculous at the trade deadline, but there are limits. the Erat for Forsberg deal was horrible, but Forsberg still wasn't being traded within division, and wasn't a goaltender.

The optics of trading a starting goalie to a rival team you'll have to compete with could be disastrous--even if you win a cup, it could lead to a GM's head**. Imagine how much it would have taken for Vancouver to trade Schneider to Edmonton. Apparently there was a good amount on the table from Edmonton at the time, Vancouver didn't take it simply because it looks absolutely horrible if you get beat by that goalie six times a year (to say nothing of the playoffs). Goalies are, for all intents and purposes, the sole position that can have the biggest impact on an organization's future. General Managers aren't falling over themselves to give that away to a direct rival (one whom they will have to compete with for playoff seeding and playoff success) for market rate.

That also says nothing of the fact that Andersen is an RFA, and can be held under the team's control until a sensical trade presents itself.

I'm not saying Andersen to the Flames won't happen, but it will either take a very stupid move from a very astute GM (Bob Murray), or it would take an unpalatable package of assets.

**As an aside, imagine if the Smid-Broissot deal ends up finding Edmonton their next legitimate number-one goalie. You don't think that Feaster/Burke will go down in the annuls of horrible hockey trade lore for that one? At least in that case, Feaster/Burke could vehemently argue "goalies are vodoo", but it doesn't really change much.

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#55 the-wolf
February 15 2016, 09:33AM
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cberg wrote:

Of the many proposals out there the ones I see with the most traction, but not the main characters that everyone sees are:

Poirier going to Montreal. He's someone they wanted, is French-Canadian and I'm sure would love to get back there. In addition, in spite of what we may think of him this season, he's an aggressive, very fast scorer who would probably go great on their team. I'm not really interested in trading him, as I always thought he wold be a key piece of the future here, but if he can get back a great prospect we need I might be OK with dealing him.

Another guy Granlund, especially the idea to Minnesota to work with his brother. Not sure what we'd get back but perhaps a good pick or higher-end prospect.

Third guy, Derek Engelland. This year he's played very well as a 6D, and has proven he can fill-in higher on a short-term basis. He is physical and would bolster a lot of D's with a Cap going forward reasonable, and only a year left.

Guys have mentioned Ramo, I would add Hiller. Trade them both for playoff insurance which I think they could both do well, especially to teams with weak back-ups. They are both UFAs so zero issues going forward and could easily re-sign at lower $s for next year if a team liked what they see.

Smid wants to go and play. Solid insurance as a 6/7D, but with one year left so he'd have to fit for another year.

Bouma, a solid, physical tough player that can play on bottom two lines and chip in some goals as proven last year. He would be a solid addition to a playoff team and is signed for a fairly low $ going forward. We apparently have other guys on the farm who could replace him (Hathaway?).

Stajan, solid 3C who can shut guys down and chip in some offence as well. Still a year left on a reasonable term.

I don't disagree with your Poirier thoughts, but I'm not sure moving him brings back anything better than by just keeping him. How you describe him is accurate, but that's exactly what the Flames could use too.

Totally agree, or at least hope, in regards to Engelland. He's been far better this season and would love to see him have played his way out of here. Only one year yo go, but admittedly, it's an expensive year for what he brings.

Replacing Bouma seems redundant to me, at least at this stage.

Stajan could be moved if he had a year left, but correct me if I'm wrong, he has two years left on his contract after this season. Ugh.

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#56 the-wolf
February 15 2016, 09:39AM
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piscera.infada wrote:

Fair enough. I won't argue that GMs go ridiculous at the trade deadline, but there are limits. the Erat for Forsberg deal was horrible, but Forsberg still wasn't being traded within division, and wasn't a goaltender.

The optics of trading a starting goalie to a rival team you'll have to compete with could be disastrous--even if you win a cup, it could lead to a GM's head**. Imagine how much it would have taken for Vancouver to trade Schneider to Edmonton. Apparently there was a good amount on the table from Edmonton at the time, Vancouver didn't take it simply because it looks absolutely horrible if you get beat by that goalie six times a year (to say nothing of the playoffs). Goalies are, for all intents and purposes, the sole position that can have the biggest impact on an organization's future. General Managers aren't falling over themselves to give that away to a direct rival (one whom they will have to compete with for playoff seeding and playoff success) for market rate.

That also says nothing of the fact that Andersen is an RFA, and can be held under the team's control until a sensical trade presents itself.

I'm not saying Andersen to the Flames won't happen, but it will either take a very stupid move from a very astute GM (Bob Murray), or it would take an unpalatable package of assets.

**As an aside, imagine if the Smid-Broissot deal ends up finding Edmonton their next legitimate number-one goalie. You don't think that Feaster/Burke will go down in the annuls of horrible hockey trade lore for that one? At least in that case, Feaster/Burke could vehemently argue "goalies are vodoo", but it doesn't really change much.

Regarding Erat for Forsberg: Those deals happen and it's heartbreaking when the team you cheer for isn't in on them (because they are such steals), but they aren't something you can bank on happening. Which is why until I see Hudler and Russell moved for Nichushkin, I regard it as fantasy.

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#57 cberg
February 15 2016, 10:07AM
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prendrefeu wrote:

Looking at his m.o, thus far, either Brad Treliving will do no trades or pull of a completely surprising stunner that few, if any, saw coming.

At some point, aside from getting clicks on articles and audiences to listen to radio voices talk sports, you should simply hold tight and see what happens because making predictions or spending time on analysis becomes a moot effort in futility with BT at the helm.

And that's a good thing for Flames fans.

I think we're going to learn a lot about BT over the next 4+ months. What we know so far is:

1. He is very reluctant to give up on anybody. He's only really traded out one player-Glencross, and I think that offer was too good to pass up on a declining player. He did trade Baertchschi but he was reportedly ready to walk away from the team as an RFA so I don't include that one. He has also traded several prospects reaching waiver time, for other similar prospects. None of them have really gotten a solid chance on the Flames.

2. He is very "loyal" to his vets (my word, I'm sure others would substitute something else). After the run last season he started the year stating the team that got them there "deserved" a chance to prove they can do it again, and even better after a couple key additions. This hasn't happened and at least from the outside he has been very reluctant to make changes/trades when things didn't work out.

3. In addition, he has been very hesitant to send guys down to the minors (McGratton, Raymond, Ramo) even when its been very apparent that was needed. This has resulted in a lot of dead-weight sitting around not offering much to the team, as well as what I would perceive as festering and discouragement on the farm. A side note to this is the three-headed goalie monster to start the year which BH didn't like either and turned into an unmitigated disaster for the team.

4. He is willing to look anywhere for talent, picking up Morrison and Nakladal as free agents last year. Unfortunately it seems the promises turned out to be much more than the realities for the two as neither has gotten a sniff. Take that back, Nak's gotten 1:42 in the NHL, shortest career ever.

5. He has a definite vision for the future, and able to pinpoint apparent deficiencies and fill the needs through free agent signings, like Frolik this year, and Engelland, Raymond et all previously.

6. Unfortunately, he seems to believe in a step-wise, methodical, incremental-improvement approach of team-building which has led to signing multiple guys to way too much term which is killing us now. The other factor weighing the team down is the same apparent belief in prospect development. This causes big problems when a Johnny Gaudreau bursts onto the scene in year 1, dragging the team with him, or perhaps even a Poirier/Baertschi who may have been ready earlier but never given enough time with the big team to earn their spot at the optimum moment. The Detroit "over-simmering" prospect development model may work for them, but the NYR/Chicago "bring up the kids but surround them with solid vets" model also seems to work for a number of teams and certainly helps land some prized free agents as well as keeping Cap down and youthful excitement/energy up.

7. BT's not afraid to make a huge splash trading for a needed piece while giving up picks, i.e. Hamilton. It looks like a great deal but still was a steep price to pay in potential futures, especially early on in a rebuild.

8. Drafting has been mixed, but overall positive. I'd say the last couple drafts we've definitely added more than the ~1.5 NHL'er average for the league to the team so that's good, and we have some blue chippers currently playing and perhaps a few more still developing in lower leagues. It has also addressed needs and been spread over a multitude of types of players. I like what I see so far, it needs to continue.

9. Philosophically there has been zero interest in going "all-in" for the draft, but honestly we were chasing playoffs last year (and made it) so it remains to be seen if that is different this year. If we lose today we'll be 10 points out and 3-4 teams to climb over to get into the play-offs. I believe its already over but that will pretty much put the last nail in the coffin. If so BT should be moving contracts/players out just as aggressively as he was trying to fill specific needs last summer (and did).

Overall I give BT an above-average passing grade. However, the coming few weeks/months will go a long way in determining his true benefit to the organization. We are definitely at a stage where we require a major overhaul of our average/aging players and infusing the team with some new talent. We are waiting....

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#58 cberg
February 15 2016, 10:31AM
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BlueMoonNigel wrote:

I'm not sure we can talk about BT in the same breath as Trader Cliff. He doesn't have a track record yet. On the plus side, he dealt Glencross for picks. Hamilton trade was bold, but it is too soon to declare a winner.

Not sure why he didn't go all out to deal Wideman last offseason. Price was never going to be higher and did not fit in any LT plans.

Hudler's stock was also at a record high last summer, but were I BT, I would not have traded him them and bust up what had been one of the best lines in hockey. He should have no such reservations now.

As for between now and 01 July, BT needs to do some serious cost cutting. $11M for the Flames 5th, 6th and 7th defensemen is screwy.

He also has to figure out net. Ramo is not the answer. He's a stopgap. Don't think anyone in the system is ready, and no, Jimmy Howard is not the answer.

Who plays RW on the top line assuming they want to keep Backs, Benett and Frolik together next season? Ferland perhaps, but barring some unexpected development, it will be RW by committee.

Bottom 6 need to get cheaper. I have no problem keeping Bouma and Stajan next season. I can live with Jouris. Woulld like to see these final couple spots filled by Heaters.

If BT clears cap room and after signing the Tankard Twins, he should allocate a big chunk of the leftover to a goalie who can steal wins.

Wow, BlueMoonNigel, a coherent comment I agree with completely after you seemed to be a dismissive troll over the last few weeks. Good one.

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#59 Sock
February 15 2016, 07:40PM
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Any thoughts on the fiesability of us landing any 2, of the following with dead-line/post season moves...pipe dream but looking for feedback (assuming we do not win the lottery - Arggg Oilers).

J. Puljujarvi Tkachuk Chychuryn MacLeod PL Dubois

Ranked in my order of interest/suitability.

Chances of turning any combination of:

Hudler Russell Wideman Jones Granlund Backlund - Macleod is IMO a better #2/3 future C.

Etc.

Thanks!

Into; 1st, 2 2nds, 2 3rds Get an additional top 10 pick?

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